Get set for a marathon after-party | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Get set for a marathon after-party

The festive season is over, the remnants of your big bash have been swept up and discarded and you’re probably feeling those post-party blues.

mumbai Updated: Jan 02, 2011 01:03 IST
Phorum Pandya

The festive season is over, the remnants of your big bash have been swept up and discarded and you’re probably feeling those post-party blues. But cheer up, January has a lot going for it — including the mega-event that is the Mumbai marathon, festivals like Pongal (for the more traditional), Sankranti (for the fun-loving kite-flyers) and IIT’s Techfest (for the geeks).

This January, there’s also something for everyone on the Hindustan Times No TV Day events calendar — including laser shows, heritage rides and discounts at your favourite restaurants on January 29.

While No TV Day requires that you just show up, the marathon calls for considerably more effort, and Mumbai is already training furiously to meet the challenge.

“I’m glad the partying is done, because now I can focus on the run,” says Aditya Harlalka, 26, an HR executive and Juhu resident who was so excited to be running for the second year in a row that he registered for the half marathon five months ago.

This year, Harlalka is looking to beat his previous record of 150-minutes. “My daily workout includes two hours of badminton, and also occasionally jogs on the beach,” he says. “I’m a party animal, but the marathon is a different kind of celebration. The energy of the crowd and the adrenaline rush are something else.”

The Mumbai marathon, Asia’s wealthiest run, has seen already met its limit of 38,400 registrations, and a fortnight before the marathon, practice sessions are in full swing at beaches, promenades, parks and gyms across the city.

Some enthusiasts, like electronic engineer Nandish Mehta, 25, have been training all year. “I’m part of a group of 60 people who have trained together and run together in every Mumbai marathon since 2005,” says Mehta, who believes the marathon is all about setting your own targets.

For still others, the marathon is an extension of the November-December festivities. “The feeling of strangers from your city cheering you on is inspiring. It’s like a massive party in itself,” says Sonal Chabria, 39, a radio jockey from Juhu who will run in her fourth consecutive half-marathon this year.

“The marathon brings the city together like nothing else,” says Vivek B Singh, Joint MD of Procam International, the organisers of the Mumbai marathon. “Young and old, rich and poor, they come together to run for a cause, for charity or for their own personal goals.”

Nearly 200 NGOs have also registered this year, and are inviting runners to sign up for their causes. Any runners that do cite a cause when they register will see part of their Rs 500 registration fee go to the respective NGO. Last year, Rs 9.16 crore was raised for various charities in this manner.

Meanwhile, the combined prize money for all five runs — full marathon (42.19 km), half marathon (21 km), dream run (6 km), senior citizens’ run (4.3 km) and wheelchair marathon (2.5 km) — has been hiked from $18,000 (about Rs 8.5 lakh) last year to $32,500 (about Rs 15 lakh).

And if you would rather not run, there’s still a lot you can do.

Pervin Sanghvi, 41, signs up every year to support an NGO that works with autistic children, then walks along cheering other runners. “The city looks different that day, with people in Hanuman costumes and others dressed as Gandhiji. It’s fun to cheer in the crowds, and good to know that you’re doing it for a cause,” she says.